William Rusher

Preliminary comments on Snow have run the gamut, from warm approval through calm appraisal to vicious attacks. The prize for the latter, surprisingly enough, goes to the usually better-balanced Economist, which mined Snow's comments over a decade of commentary for uncomplimentary remarks about Bush -- each a phrase wrenched from its context and massed in a single paragraph to look like a scathing denunciation.

So the bad news for Bush-haters is that the president will now have, on daily display, a warm-hearted and agreeable spokesman who can be counted on to present the administration's case in a clear and sensible way. If the White House press corps tries to savage him, as it so often, and so successfully, savaged McClellan, it will simply confirm what conservatives have been saying about it for years. And this time the witnesses will be the American people, for you can bet that Snow's old colleagues at Fox News, and the other media now available that are not parts of the liberal megaphone, will see to it that such episodes are duly broadcast.

That said, it is wise to remember that Snow has a tough job ahead. The Bush administration is entitled to have its side of public issues presented fairly, but there are plenty of issues on which it is justly vulnerable to criticism. The apparently endless insurgency in Iraq, administrative failures in anticipating and responding to Katrina, the Abramoff scandal and miscellaneous indictments of individuals on the staffs of Republican Congressmen and in the Executive branch, and even (less fairly) the soaring price of gasoline, all have taken a deadly toll of the president's approval ratings, and will need honest and sensitive handling by Mr. Bush's new spokesman.

But my guess is that sheer demagoguery, of the "Bush lied, people died" sort, is going to look even cheaper when confronted with the transparently honorable persona of Tony Snow.

William Rusher

William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .

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